Archives: Recent Cases

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Unclear and present danger – incorrect use of “Independent Contractor” arrangements may have expensive consequences

The ever-vexed question of whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor has once again come before the Australian courts. The recent decision of Balemian v Mobilia Manufacturing Pty Ltd & Anor provides a reminder to employers of the potential financial ramifications of getting this wrong.… Continue Reading

NLRB Rules That Barring A Former Hotel Employee Who Sued Her Employer From The Premises Is An Unfair Labor Practice

On May 16, 2017, a two-member majority (Members McFerran and Pearce) of the National Labor Relations Board held that it was an unfair labor practice for the Grand Sierra Resort &Casino (GSR) to bar a former employee from its premises after she filed a class and collective action lawsuit against the employer.… Continue Reading

In the post – FWC delivers mixed messages on dismissal for social media indiscretions

Following recent differing decisions of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) it seems that Australian employers must still tread a fine and uncertain line in determining whether employee misconduct on social media is a valid reason for dismissal. In the recent case of Stephen Campbell v Qube Ports Pty Ltd t/a Qube Ports & Bulk in … Continue Reading

Testing times for employers in recruitment assessments

Hot on the heels of our post on indirect discrimination in employee tests for promotion   http://www.employmentlawworldview.com/indirect-discrimination-you-know-what-they-say-about-statistics/ comes another decision posing similar challenges for employers. Government Legal Service –v- Brookes concerned the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) which forms part of the recruitment process for lawyers wanting to join the Service. Ms Brookes told the GLS in … Continue Reading

Pay History: An Improper Factor for Employers To Consider In Starting Salaries? Not Necessarily, According To the Ninth Circuit

As we previously reported to you, pay history has recently become a topic of much discussion among federal, state and municipal legislatures. Many jurisdictions around the country are considering laws that would quell employer inquiries into candidate pay history. The underlying purpose of these laws is to level out the historical pay gap between men … Continue Reading

House passes bill to allow private employers to offer paid time off in lieu of overtime time pay

On May 2, 2017, the House passed H.R. 1180, The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017, which would allow private employers to offer paid time off, also known as “comp time,” instead of time-and-a-half wages for overtime hours. Congress had previously amended the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1985 to allow public-sector employees to be … Continue Reading

One Racial Slur May Be Sufficient To Create a Hostile Work Environment, Says Second Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held last week that a single racial slur might provide sufficient basis for a hostile work environment claim.  In the case, Daniel v. T&M Protection Resources, LLC,  Plaintiff Daniel, a black, gay man from the Caribbean, alleged he was harassed at work on the basis … Continue Reading

California High Court Weighs In On Arbitration, Again

On April 6, 2017, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in McGill v. Citibank, once again striking out against arbitration agreements – this time declining to enforce a provision in a credit card account agreement which prevented the cardholder from bringing a claim for an injunction on behalf of the general public. The legal focus … Continue Reading

U.S. Appellate Court Declares That Title VII Prohibits Employment Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation

On April 4, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit became the first federal appellate court to hold that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a prohibited form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).  And it did so in no … Continue Reading

Treading the thin line between incompetence and discrimination

In a boost to the cause of inept line management everywhere, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held last month that it is not permissible to extrapolate without more from conduct which is unreasonable, incompetent and lackadaisical to that which is discriminatory. The point is not wholly new. Back in 1998 the then House of Lords heard … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Says Appellate Courts Must Defer To District Court Decisions Regarding Enforceability of EEOC Subpoenas

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) bestows upon the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the right to subpoena records from employers against whom formal charges of discrimination have been filed; the EEOC also can subpoena employer representatives for interviews.  The purpose of this subpoena power is to allow the EEOC … Continue Reading

NLRB Will Not Hack Into Prior Decision Regarding Employee Email Use During Non-Work Time

Network security and protection of confidential information are among the reasons many companies place limits on how and when employees may use company-provided email.  However, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) has largely ignored if not outright rejected these legitimate concerns, finding that under certain circumstances, they are outweighed by employees’ right to … Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Decision Regarding NLRB Workplace Investigation Confidentiality Policies Fails To Answer Critical Question For Employers

In 2015, we reported to you about the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision in the Banner Estrella Medical Center case, which placed significant limits on employers’ ability to request employee confidentiality during workplace investigations. As a reminder, in the Banner case, the NLRB found that Banner Estrella maintained a policy of instructing employees involved in … Continue Reading

Dismissing for long-term sickness – when is enough enough?

Legally-speaking O’Brien – v – Bolton St Catherine’s Academy as reported last week is mostly about how much overlap there is between fairness for unfair dismissal purposes and justification in disability discrimination terms (in brief, very substantial).  It is also a fine illustration of how hard it is to overturn an Employment Tribunal judgement on … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Reins in Administrative Overreaching of NLRB

On March 21, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that one-time acting National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Lafe Solomon improperly served as the agency’s Acting General Counsel while he awaited U.S. Senate confirmation to a permanent appointment, upholding a U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruling that most of his three-year tenure … Continue Reading

Travel Ban Executive Order Update: The Constitutional Tug-of-War Continues

Last week we saw another round in the battle between the Executive and Judiciary branches over the President’s travel ban impacting nationals Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Federal District Courts in Hawaii (State of Hawaii v. Trump) and Maryland (International Refugee Assistance Project (“IRAP”) v. Trump) stayed the implementation of the revised Travel/Refugee … Continue Reading
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